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But when the mistakes of Gabriel’s past clashed with Nicole’s hopes for the future, they realized love wasn’t enough. They tied up the loose ends of their broken hearts and walked away.
Now, Gabriel’s career is on a meteoric rise and he is back to his bachelor ways. He told Nicole he couldn’t promise forever and did his best to let her go, but these days he wonders if he spoke too soon.
Nicole has a new life, a new man, and she refuses to look back. To everyone around her though, not looking back looks an awful lot like running scared from the past.
With Jackie and Ian’s wedding approaching, a reunion between the best man and the maid of honor is to be expected. What they don’t expect is for the olive branch of friendship to catch fire with a love and need that is stronger than even their best intentions.
They called it quits. But is it really over? They still love each other. But does that even matter when they’ve made up their minds that there’s no going back?
*NOTE* Mind Over Matter is the third and final book in the Loose Ends series.
Panty Scorching- 4
Overall Rating- 4.5
Reviewed by: Christina
Wow. What an emotionally gripping train wreck of a relationship Gabe and Nicole have. I mean really a train wreck, something you can’t look away from or help but be drawn into. Mind Over Matter picks up a year later after they break up and decide that they just can’t make it work any longer. After not seeing or having any contact with one another for a year they come face to face. Can they rebuild what they had or is it forever lost?
Gabe and Nicole have anything but a easy relationship, it’s a complete mess. Too many lies, lost trust, secrets, lust, and even love has gotten in either way. It’s a heart breaking story of longing for the one true love that just couldn’t work the first time around, and now, now will they get a second chance at forever?
I am truly sad to see this trilogy come to an end. I loved everything about these books and loved how it all ended. Getting to the end was a complete cluster f*ck, but honestly that is what makes it such a gripping story to read. There is plenty of angst, lust, longing and things left unsaid to keep me frantically turning the pages.
Ms. Bennett does an amazing job creating a story that draws me in and captivates me until the very end. Like I said I’m super sad to see Gabriel and Nicole’s story come to an end but she did a fabulous job with the conclusion. I would love to see more from the other band mates in the future, but who knows what Kaia has in store for us next. I know I fully intend to keep my eye on Kaia to see what she releases next, because you can bet your happy ass I’m going to read it!
She was still as a statue, full lips slightly parted. The first thing she seemed able to do with any semblance of cognition was quirk her lips upwards into the beginnings of a smile. Then her lips slammed shut. She blinked, swallowed, took a shaky step forward.
And tripped on the first step of the porch, a nasty, awkward trip that made her slip and grab the railing. A trip that splashed the glass of lemonade she was holding all down Jackie’s treacherous back.
Yeah, treacherous was the perfect word for this run-in with the past. In an instant the sound of glass crashing and splintering accompanied a shrill high pitched, “Shit!”, followed by Jackie’s shocked form shaking out one arm while gripping her own spilled lemonade. She spun her gaze to her younger sister and Gabe knew what Nicole was witnessing.
Fire. Brimstone. Death in a tiny package otherwise known as her older sister.
“Oh my God, Jackie, I’m so sorry—”
“Ah, ah! Stay there, dummy!” Jackie yelled to which Nicole halted movement like a bloodhound on the scent; one foot in midair, the other wobbling as she tried to gain balance. “You’re barefoot and I don’t want you cutting yourself.”
He could see her swallow. Jackie said something about getting a towel.
“I can get you a towel,” Nicole offered, which Jackie laughed off dismissively.
“Say ‘hi’ to Gabriel. I’m gonna go change.” Jackie said. Then, to Ian, “Baby, get a broom and dust pan for me, would you?”
“But…” he gestured to Preston. It would be quite a feat to sweep up glass while toting a one year old around, and it would make more sense for her to just get it herself, or let Nicole get it.
Jackie chose to ignore this logic in favor of blatantly staging a reunion. “It’s cool, I’ll take Preston, while you go sweep this up.” Of course that’s not all that passed between the two. They must have thought Gabriel was blind as they proceeded to have a private conversation with their eyes and subtle gestures. It bordered on telepathy.
Nicole laughed and lifted her shoulders in a helpless shrug for Gabriel’s sake, probably noticing the same thing. He watched as Jackie grabbed Preston and Ian hopped the railing of the porch steps so he didn’t track glass into the house.
A moment of painful silence passed between them. Gabriel cleared his throat. Nicole nibbled her bottom lip.
“Some things never change, huh?” she joked using a sweeping gesture to point out her broken handiwork all over the bottom step.
Gabriel laughed, thankful for the burst of levity that cut into the pounding in his chest. He maneuvered carefully around the broken glass that kept her stranded on the second to last step. Broken pieces, a metaphor for everything between them, glittering in the noonday sun. He looked down at the shards before them, then up at her as he approached the same railing that Ian had jumped. She gave him smile that matched his sheepish half-grin perfectly.
“Can I get a hug now?” he asked softly. His voice quavered and he had to will his hands not to shake.
She nodded and leaned over the railing to embrace him. The look in her eyes when he grasped her waist instead and lifted her in the air did familiar and powerful things to his body. Her fingers dug into his forearms; her eyes searched his. He watched her tongue swipe across her lips, eyed the creamy smoothness of her legs as she tucked them into her chest. He brought her easily up and over the obstacle separating them, and the closer she came the more he felt transported back to the way things were.
Her hands were shaking, her slick palms sliding against his forearms. He set her down gently on the grass in front of him, his fingers sliding around until they rested lightly on her back. She brought her arms up to rest on his shoulders. Her fingers caught on the fabric of his shirt; he could almost feel the softness of her skin under the flimsy, worn cotton of her t-shirt. Everywhere their bodies connected he felt heat. When he finally wrapped his arms around her it was like drowning, sinking into the past.
A flash of her fingers on his skin, her nails digging in as she sighed against his neck just before her lips found his. The sound of her moan. The sound of her laugh. Soft skin, gentle kisses. The way it felt to be trusted, needed, and wanted. How safe and scared he felt being loved by her.
He could almost feel himself back there, falling asleep with her fingers woven into his, the life lines and love lines on their palms flirting with forever.
He was being battered by a phantom, a ghost of what used to be that he couldn’t fight or cage.
How could he when it was in the very ether surrounding them? He looked away from her eyes, knelt down a bit to keep his hips away from hers. But her breasts still felt like a firebrand against his chest. Her breath against his neck still did things to him, things he’d convinced himself she couldn’t do anymore when distance made it easy to deceive himself.
And her hair. It was shorter now, but still soft, still the sweet scent of lilacs that made his eyes close over unshed tears as he suppressed a moan of pleasure.
The embrace was so comfortable. But it hurt, too. As soon as he touched her, as soon as he felt her body against his, he knew she was right. And he knew he was so very wrong.
Some things never did change.
Then the moment was gone, if only because Ian had mercifully ventured outside to sweep up the glass and announced his presence by loudly clearing his throat. Gabe lifted his head, watched her look at Ian over her shoulder with a chuckle. Then she turned back to him and rolled her eyes. He gave her an answering smirk he hoped said something like, This isn’t breaking my heart at all. When she released his shoulders and stepped back a bit, his hands lingered for a second before falling away from the curve of her hips. Distance again. A blessing and a curse.
“How ya been, babe?” she whispered. He saw the second she realized what she’d said. That old endearment stung like a whip and it was probably written all over his face how much he missed hearing it.
“Great!” He stuffed his fists back in his jeans pockets. “Really great. How about you?”
She shrugged a shoulder and gave him a crooked grin. “Well, I’m a published author now. Or, at
least I will be once the book gets out there on shelves.”
The excitement on her face was infectious. He found himself smiling so hard his cheeks hurt.
“Yeah, I know. Jackie told me and I told her I want the first copy. I knew you could do it, sweetheart…”
Her eyes wavered a bit as soon as he called her ‘sweetheart’. So did his smile. He should have remembered to be careful. He should have been used to the idea that this was what they were now.
Familiar strangers. But that was feeling more and more like a lie. It was starting to feel like all the time apart was an illusion. All the time apart was a horrible nightmare, and this was when he would wake up.
Any minute now they would all start laughing and the ruse would end. He would wrap his arms around her and walk her into the house, whispering in her ear all the things they would do when they got alone, just like he used to. Any moment now he would touch her and not hold back. She would touch him and not pull away.
Times like this he wished he’d never discovered how much she’d wanted him once upon a time.
Maybe he wouldn’t realize so painfully what was missing, what he’d lost, how addicted he used to be to her desire and love for him.
Used to. That was the important part. He’d moved on. So had she. Yet, still, something like this could remain. Must be like a star, when the light has burned out for years past, yet the glow remains, teasing fallible human eyes from a distance. Even Jackie and Ian could see it. Everyone would probably be able to see it.
But it was still dead. And they were going to let it stay that way.
Synopsis: After a whirlwind week of hot sex and growing affection, Nicole and Gabriel were forced to part ways and to return to real life. For a while they danced around each other, meeting up when they could, the distance between them rivaled only by their desire to be together again.
Now these lovers are no longer star-crossed. They’re in the same city at the same time and can finally indulge their insatiable passion. At least until Gabriel’s increasingly popular band goes on tour.
But the ticking clock of his budding music career isn’t the only obstacle to contend with. A blast from Gabriel’s wild past, a guy that kept Nicole warm in Gabriel’s absence, and fear of what the future holds all converge just as they’ve begun to realize this might be love…
Author’s Note: This book contains strong language and sexual content with dark elements, some of which readers may find uncomfortable.
Synopsis: Nicole Langley’s #1 Crush has always been Gabriel Roberts, but settling for
being a friendly acquaintance has had to be enough.
Gabriel has always seen Nicole as his good friend’s very pretty, but extremely off limits baby sister.
Then a hot summer day and an even hotter discovery pushes them over the lines of friendship, over the lines of unrequited desire, and into each other’s arms.
Will they indulge and move on? Or will this crush turn into something more, something deeper?
Something that leaves loose ends begging to be tied…
About Kaia Bennett
Kaia Bennett is a native of New Jersey, a college graduate and U.S. Army veteran who loves music, movies, astrology, tattoos, martial arts, animals and, of course, the written word. She heard the siren call of the writer as a teenage girl, but took her sweet time answering it until she had lived and loved enough to share her work with the masses.
She is an erotic author who loves to write stories with diversity, depth, realism and viscerally hot encounters that flirt shamelessly with the taboo. A lover of all genres and a voracious reader, she aims to write stories that are transformative for her characters and readers alike.